Beach Safety

Beach Safety

  • Always swim or surf at places patrolled by lifeguards
  • Swim between the red and yellow flags
  • Always swim under supervision
  • If you are unsure of surf conditions, ask a lifeguard
  • Don’t swim directly after a meal
  • Don’t swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Never run or dive in the water. Even if you have checked before. Water conditions can change. If you get into trouble in the water, stay calm. Signal for help, float and wait for assistance. Use sunscreen and wear a shirt and hat. Remember to reapply sunscreen after swimming.

Identifying a Rip

Learn how to spot a rip and keep clear of it. A rip can be recognised by sand coloured or rippled water running out to sea when the water on either side is generally cleaner. The waves may also be larger and breaking further out to sea on both sides of the rip.

Visit the Surf Life Saving Australia webpage for the facts about rip currents.

Escaping from a Rip

If you are a weak or tired swimmer, float with the current, don’t fight it. Swim parallel to the shore for about 30 – 40m until you reach the breaking wave zone, then swim back to shore or signal for help. Remember to stay calm and conserve your energy.

Marine Creatures


Bluebottles are common around Australia, mostly in tropical waters but are known to drift as far south as Tasmania. They have a small blue air-filled sac and usually one single tentacle that can be more than a metre long. Bluebottle jellyfish

For bluebottle stings:

  1. Wash off any remaining tentacles with seawater, or pick off with your fingers (they can’t usually sting through the tough skin on your fingers!)
  2. Immerse the patient’s sting in hot water (no hotter than can be easily tolerated)
  3. If local pain is not relieved or immersion facilities are not available, the application of cold packs or wrapped ice is also effective.









There are many types of sharks in Australian waters. Most are harmless to humans. Although humans fear sharks, they are an important part of the ecosystem and a natural inhabitant of the ocean. Shark

There are some very simple tips you can use to minimise your chances of encountering a shark:

  • Avoid swimming at dawn and dusk
  • Avoid swimming at river mouths or in murky, discoloured waters
  • Avoid swimming in or around schools of baitfish
  • Swim between the flags so lifesavers or lifeguards can alert you to any potential hazards by the use of a shark alarm or loud hailer and rescue and first aid equipment is close at hand


Keep the beach clean, put your rubbish in a bin and keep off the duned areas. They are there to preserve the beach environment.